When the Recession gave these career women lemons, they made them into homemade lemonade, put on lipstick, and served them to their boyfriends in an immaculate apartment.
It's a simple truth: a lot of people are unemployed nowadays. And a lot of them are unemployed and living with partners to whom they're not married. The author of this piece, Quiana Stokes, finds herself in that position and lives with her boyfriend out of economic necessity. And as such, she needs to adjust. And I actually think a lot of her advice is highly applicable to anyone who finds herself without a fixed routine. Tips like "Don't Sleep In," "Keep the House Clean," "Leave the House" and even "Keep Yourself Up" are the kind of thing that can keep you from falling into some serious slothfulness — to say nothing of the doldrums. And props for finding a way to stay upbeat in a rough time. But here is where she and many a feminist will part ways. For, writes she,
While I've always been someone who's really into keeping her boyfriend happy (that's how I was raised), it's now my primary occupation after job-seeking. I'm not alone. I was actually the third of my female friends living with her boyfriend to wind up out of work, and all of us, to some degree, adhere to stereotypically Stepfordish rules to keep our relationships afloat and ourselves sane.
As such, she advocates "pampering him" and looking good for one's fella at all times. Also, having sexytimes when he wants it because "frankly, there's no real reason (time of the month aside) why I shouldn't be ready and willing when he is."
Now, on the one hand, all of this is her choice. I'd certainly defend a woman's right to be a homemaker after marriage and, if it works for both parties, it seems arbitrary to object the same arrangement just because two people aren't married. Then too, this isn't a situation she chose: she lost her job and is making the most of it. There are certainly worse things than a home-cooked meal and a clean house. And whoever's at home and has more time probably should take on a larger role in household stuff; that's just common-sense and good partnership.
But let's face it: the tone of this is...troubling. Not least because when one is in the author's situation, it's not that straightforward: one often doesn't feel good about oneself, lacks confidence and doesn't feel like the equal partner you once were (and this may be totally irrational, but emotions are emotions). Sure, keeping a relationship strong is important, and these can be trying times (believe me, I wish my unemployed boyfriend had hewed to a few more of these) but it's also a time when it's crucial to keep up your interests, your ambitions, your life. And this is just worrisome: "If there's one thing I'm sure he'd like to change it is the way I cling to him when he gets home. After spending a large part of the week talking only to myself, having him walk through the door ready to talk about something other than toilet cleaner is really exciting to me. It makes him crazy." Even she admits that this is only short-term: "the idea of being an actual housewife is not at all appealing." As a glimpse into another couple's life, this is interesting and a little voyeuristic. As "instructions" go, we'll take it with a sizable grain of salt, and slightly less toilet cleaner. And hope that, as in Stokes' case, it's more novelty than phenomenon. But one thing is heartening! Wrote one commenter, "As a husband who works from home for a startup for which I don't get paid, I totally appreciate this article. It makes me see the many ways I can be a better stay-at-home husband for my wife. Thanks for writing this!"
How To Survive As A SAHG [Brokelyn]